Avoid Work from Home Email Phishing Scams
June 27, 2020
EMAIL AND TECHNOLOGY
The coronavirus pandemic has brought with it threats to our physical, mental, and financial health—and now, it’s risking our digital health. The rise of COVID-19 email scams is another unfortunate side effect of the global health crisis.
Cybercriminals have turned their attention to the pandemic to try to take advantage of the moment, using phishing techniques that are made all the more convincing by our current state of affairs. We’re all hungry for information and answers about the pandemic, and online thieves are exploiting that reality for their own personal gain. However, just as we have all become more educated about hand-washing and social distancing, by understanding the red flags of COVID-19 email scams, you can also help protect your online footprint.
Criminals are trying to entice email users to click on their message by using the pandemic in the subject line. An email that references COVID-19 or coronavirus in the subject line—even if it appears to come from a reputable source—may instead be a phishing email. While attention-grabbing, the subject line could simply be an attempt to get the user to follow prompts in the message that request personal and sensitive information, or may infect the individual’s device with malware that tracks his or her online activity.
Like other phishing messages, many COVID-19 email scams are automated and sent en masse, so they lack personal greetings. Be extra cautious of any email that doesn’t include your name. Even for those that do address you by name, it’s still smart to exercise caution and closely investigate the message.
Password Reset Requests
We’ve all forgotten passwords from time to time and had to use the reset function on different sites but be wary of any unsolicited message about resetting a password. Some new COVID-19 email scams suggest a password reset is needed because of pandemic-related security changes, so if you receive such a message follow up outside of email with the requesting institution before taking any action.
With so many people working from home, social media has become an even bigger part of day-to-day life. However, it brings its own security issues; for instance, a data leak at Facebook involved an untold number of users’ private information being shared with third parties to influence people—and the users weren’t even informed. That risk is heightened exponentially if you have many of your online and social media accounts linked together increasing the chances that your private data will be shared and, ultimately, could fall into the wrong hands.
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